The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers has formally adopted as standards two sets of recommendations regarding energy management.

SCTE 184 establishes recommended practices for energy management, while SCTE 186 defines common environmental and sustainability requirements for equipment within those facilities. Specifics are below.

While other standards and practices have been available in the telecommunications and IT industries at large, these are the first two energy management standards specifically for cable concerning headends, hubs and other cable-specific facilities.

The standards, the first in a planned portfolio of energy-related specifications for the industry, have been created by the SCTE Standards Program’s Sustainability Management Subcommittee (SMS) to help the industry reduce energy consumption and costs within mission-critical operations facilities.

Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Time Warner Cable and chairman of the SCTE’s Sustainability Management Subcommittee, said that cable operators have an interest in both containing energy costs and managing energy consumption.

“Optimizing existing energy resources is essential to ensuring the availability and cost-effectiveness of cable service offerings,” said Cooper. “By establishing standards that can reduce consumption in critical facilities, we’re laying the foundation for real, immediate returns for the industry, as well as more comprehensive energy approaches in the near future.”

In an interview with CED, Cooper explained that in the last five years, the industry has come to recognize that the availability of power is an issue, under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances, making power consumption a factor that cable wants to be able to manage.

As cable offers more and more services, it will need more power, and additional power may not always be available in all instances, which could inhibit the expansion of new services. Also, the ability to manage power consumption would be useful in disaster recovery situations.

The new SCTE 184 and 186 standards are first steps in that effort. The SCTE SMS has ambitious plans to develop more. That includes a set of standards being called Adaptive Power System Interface Specifications (APSIS), which will address the ability to vary power consumption based on network traffic demands, as well as predictive alarming standards that can provide notification and diagnosis of impending equipment problems based on signal variations within the network.

SCTE 184 provides operators, facilities designers and contractors with a menu of best practices regarding facilities management, particularly for the expansion of existing facilities or the construction of new facilities.

The standard covers a wide variety of issues, including: design consideration; site location; building and room construction; electrical and cooling systems; energy efficiency; containment management; fire, safety and security; environmental monitoring and building management; and IT systems and data communications.

SCTE 186 addresses energy efficiency and resulting product reliability by creating environmental, electrical, sustainability and other requirements for the design, manufacture, selection and installation of new equipment.

The new standard is designed to reduce operational expenses through such key metrics as:

  • Establishment of recommended operating temperature (21°-70° C) and relative humidity (45 percent to 95 percent) benchmarks
  • Mandatory front-to-back airflow for proper heat exhaust to ensure 8.3°-11° C change from inlet air temperature
  • Ability to monitor and measure intake and output of air temperatures on a per-device basis
  • Variable-speed fans with real-time reporting of fan performance
  • Average computer server power supply efficiency of 87 percent with optimal power supply load levels of 50 percent.

Operators, vendors and other parties may download a copy of SCTE 186 at no charge. SCTE 184 can be purchased in the SCTE Bookstore.